Bright lights Swiss chard is packed with nutrients. In fact, Swiss chard contains over 300 percent of the RDA of Vitamin K and is high in vitamins A and C and many other trace elements, including iron. Not only is it good for you, it is a delicately flavored green that resembles beet greens. It is also a gorgeous plant that can be grown for its brightly colored stems and scalloped green leaves. Whether you decide to grow this colorful Swiss chard for its beauty or its nutritional value, it is easy to grow and requires little care.
Choose a garden site that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day and has good drainage. Swiss chard will grow with less sunlight but the color and size will suffer.
Prepare the soil by tilling to a depth of 8 inches. Remove any rocks or debris that are turned up during tilling and rake the area smooth.
Add compost or commercial fertilizer according to the directions on the package and work it into the existing soil. Which you choose it up to you, but adding compost will provide nutrients and improve the texture of the soil. Plenty of organic matter will increase the ability of the soil to retain water and provides loose friable soil for young roots to grow in.
Mark rows with a hoe. Swiss chard can be planted in single rows or be broadcast in a wide row. For small garden areas or the edges of flower beds, Swiss chard can be broad cast over wider areas and makes a beautiful display of color when it matures.
Plant Swiss chard seeds to a depth of 1/2 inch and allow 1 inch between seeds. You may need to thin your plants once they get established. Use young leaves in fresh salads or cook them up for greens.
Water thoroughly at planting time and keep the soil evenly moist until germination. Water regularly whenever the soil dries out.
Harvest by picking the outer leaves when they reach 8 to 10 inches in height. Allow the inner leaves to continue to grow for future harvests.
Cut the plant back entirely in late summer to encourage new growth and a fall crop of tender new greens.